«The first bhumi, Joyful One, is the phase corresponding to the dawning of the path of seeing, in which the meaning of emptiness is directly realized. From the second to the tenth bhumi correspond to the phase of the path of meditation, in which familiarity with the suchness realized in the first bhumi takes place.»
«Its specific definition is that it is joyful because one comes close to enlightenment and accomplishes the welfare of beings on the attainment of this bhumi.»
~ The Third Khamtrul Rinpoche, Ngawang Kunga Tenzin, in: The Royal Seal of Mahamudra Vol. 2
Attaining the 1. bhumi is the initial real insight into the nondual nature of reality, the first thorough cut through self-based delusion and the first taste of certainty regarding the Dharma.
So it is not an unreachable stage of realization reserved for the most extraordinary human beings who have done 30 years of solitary retreat. It’s the beginning of the path of meditation.
Well, in a sense, attaining the 1st Bhumi is indeed only for extraordinary beings, namely the few human beings who have a real desire to awaken from samsara. Most people who want to awaken don’t realize how incredibly extraordinary and rare it is to have such a desire among humans, let alone among all sentient beings!
The want to awaken is the pre-requisite. Having the right tools to bring about the first awakening (opening of 1st Bhumi) is the graceful method. And achieving the first taste of certainty is kicking a hole into the wall of self-based delusion. It’s a very joyful moment because this certainty gives you the boost to go for Enlightenment.
And Enlightenment is near for the ones who have a taste of it on their tongues. And by near I don’t mean at the end of this life but it’s possible to crack all following Bhumis and come to perfect stability of Emptiness within a few years.
Welcome to pragmatic Vajrayana, Dharma brothers and sisters, let’s rejoice
May all beings be free.